Politics

A Year Ago, Mayor Vico Sotto Was Already Fighting for an Increased Health Budget

You can measure politicians’ trustworthiness by how well their words age.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/FACEBOOK/Vico Sotto
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A couple of months ago, some world leaders were quoted saying coronavirus is not a very serious threat. Then, just the previous week, the same world leaders were recorded saying they had warned everyone about COVID-19 from the very beginning.

These are just prime examples of how you can measure politicians’ trustworthiness—by how well their words age.

The same thing could be said of Pasig City mayor Vico Sotto's interview from a year ago.

On April 3, 2019, Sotto appeared in an ANC interview with Karen Davila. In the interview, Davila asked Sotto how he planned to spend the more than P10 billion budget of the city in one year.

“If you were mayor, how would you change the way the P10.7 billion is spent?” asked Davila.

“Okay, the first one would be to allocate a little bit more with healthcare, so P2.40 billion would be the amount I would like to earmark for healthcare expenses so we can fully implement universal healthcare. Libre na lahat ng gamot, libre na ’yong mga laboratory exams,” said Sotto, who was then running for mayor of Pasig.

In the interview, Sotto also mentioned that he would reduce infrastructure spending because these were avenues for corruption.

“Second, I would reduce infrastructure spending, kasi ngayon po, magpapagawa ng elevated walkway, tawiran lang ng mga tao, umaabot ng P100 million ’yong budget. I think that’s too much. Wala namang masama sa elevated walkway. Huwag lang ganoon ’yong presyo.”

Sotto further emphasized that investing in healthcare is a powerful anti-poverty measure, and that Pasig’s expenditures should prioritize it instead of spending billions on infrastructure.

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We may not have realized it then when health was such an unattractive political topic. But looking back on this interview, we see how much foresight and political will he had even before he became mayor. This interview has aged exceptionally well.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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